Texas Classical Review » Blog Archive » Dallas Opera’s “Barber” is a whimsical, vocally stellar delight

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Texas Classical Review » Blog Archive » Dallas Opera’s “Barber” is a whimsical, vocally stellar delight
Wallis Giunta as Rosina and Lucas Machem as Figaro in Rossini’s production at the Dallas Opera Barbers in Seville. Photo: Scott Suchman

when gioachino rossini Barbers in Seville It premiered in 1816 on one of the most disastrous opening nights in opera history. The 24-year-old upstart composer set the same Debeaumarche story in an opera of the same name as the venerable Giovanni Paiseiro, who instigated his tales during the premiere. Followers booed and booed. Rossini’s debut had other problems, including a late singer substitution, a Basilio with a persistent nosebleed, and an intrusive feline meowing constantly on stage.

But it’s Rossini’s Barbers in Seville This would quickly gain popularity and push Paisiello’s work into obscurity.Rossini’s barber This is a pivotal moment in Opera Buffa’s evolution from stale and predictable to exciting and unexpected. The hilarity of screenwriter Cesar Strebini’s comic themes and vibrant musical language made Rossini a quintessential Italian comedy opera composer after the second run of the work.his barber Claims to have a collection of operas that continue to dominate classics today.

Dallas Opera House Barbers in SevilleOpening Saturday night at the Winspear Opera House, it has the best of traditions, sings well, is full of hilarity, and relentless in its whimsy.

The main achievement of this production is its strong cast and musical talent of the TDO Orchestra conducted by Hart School of Women Conducting alumna Lina Gonzalez-Granados. There’s some room for polish, but the principal ensemble, the orchestra, gets a palpable comedic energy from the curtain and never lets up.

Mezzo-soprano Wallis Jutta and tenor Alasdair Kent play Rosina and Count Almaviva—our heroic lover at the center of the story, creating an endearingly awkward dynamic.

Giunta’s expressive deep and rounded tones are contrasted with Kent’s more silvery lightness. Her performance of Rosina’s cavatina, “Una voce poco fa”, is full of energy and musical humor. The mezzo-soprano’s vocal prowess is evident in her effortlessly flexible and decorative embellishments, and she’s amusing in the pantomime of her prosthetic foot injury in the second act.

Kent’s lyrical tone is graceful and brisk, and is on a par with the task required by the score. His heady remixes near the top of the score made many of Almaviva’s high Cs a popular young character, such as the opening aria “Ecce dinte in cielo”. The tender, lilting, sentimental serenade “Se il mio nome saper voi bramate” – his first song for Rosina – is delivered affectionately to the breath, complemented by minimal guitar accompaniment. Kent is also versatile in voice and acting, as the characters transition humorously through multiple disguises. As a drunken soldier, he was reckless and brave, and as the prickly music coach Alonso, Kent adopted just the right nostril placement.

The standout in this production is baritone Lucas Machem, who plays Figaro’s beloved character, the barber. Michem stood out from the audience of the house with his entry aria “Largo al factotum”, overwhelming the space with charm and competence. His rhythm is tight and clear, and as an actor, his comedic timing is consistent. He uses the range to further incorporate Rossini’s musical humor, in a way that is not obnoxious and therefore contagious and effective. Machem also manages to blend neatly with the other principals, providing a rich rumble that sets the stage for duets and ensembles.

Bass-baritone Valeriano Lanchas, who plays the opera’s main antagonist – the lascivious and cranky Doctor Bartolo – is sometimes a bit clumsy in vocalization, especially when he’s barely audible in the rhythm paragraph. However, Lanchas deserves credit for being a presence on stage and setting off the rest of the cast.

Adam Liu is a conductor of Don Basilio. His aria “La calunnia è un venticello” requires a superb crescendo, which the bass handles with great care. Soprano Courtney Menor is surprisingly powerful as Bartolo’s maid Berta. As one of only two female voices in the group, she excels in large ensembles.

Alexander Rom’s preparation for the chorus proved to be effective against a strong lineup of singers. “Chaos without causation” — a term coined by Vienna journalist Karl Krauss to describe an operetta — the end of the first act was meant to stimulate hippies and drama.

Produced by the Minnesota Opera and director Tara Faircloth in her TDO debut, this production combines Allen Moyer’s flamboyant set designs and James Scott’s sleek period costumes with almost vaudeville stage direction — their juxtaposition as operatic Created a sumptuous visual feast.

Thomas C. Hase’s smart lighting design made the stormy scene convincing, while David Zimmerman’s wig and makeup design added just the right amount of ham to the stage.

The Dallas Opera production embodies the witty complexity of the soundtrack, albeit a bit expansive at times. Still, Saturday night’s audience undoubtedly loved Rossini’s enduring comedy, as evidenced by the raucous and prolonged applause at the end of the evening.

Dallas Opera House Barbers in Seville It runs until March 27th. dallasopera.org


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